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Bank Account

If you are a paid employee of the University, or already a U.S. citizen or resident, you should have access to any bank. If you are not a U.S. citizen or resident and you are not being paid by Northwestern University, you will not be issued a Social Security number, which most banks require to open an account. The local banks listed below will allow you to open a U.S. bank account without a Social Security number.

Please contact the bank for details regarding documentation requirements for opening an account. Most banks will require your passport, visa document, offer letter, proof of local address, and an initial deposit.

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If you are a full time employee and paid by Northwestern, you are eligible for Northwestern University benefits and health insurance. Your NU benefits and health insurance will begin on the first of the month following your date of hire. You must enroll online within 31 days of your hire date. If you are on a J-1 visa and eligible for NU benefits, it is mandatory that you and your dependents are enrolled in a health insurance plan. Please see NU's Benefits Department website for additional information.

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Cell Phone

Without a social security number it may be difficult to purchase a contract cell phone. However, you may purchase a "no contract" cell phone and calling cards at these local stores:

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Driver's License

You will need a Social Security Number for an Illinois driver's license; please visit the Illinois Secretary of State website for information on how to obtain a driver's license.
If you do not have a Social Security Number, you can apply for a Temporary Visitor driver's license; please visit this section of the Illinois Secretary of State website for more information.

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Employee Orientation

If you are a paid employee and eligible for NU benefits, we recommend that you attend a new employee orientation. Employee orientation contains an online portion and a an in-person benefits session. Benefits counselors will discuss health insurance plans, retirement and tuition benefits, answer questions, and help you select the coverage you need. Please visit the Learning & Organization Development website for employee orientation dates, locations, and information.

If you are visiting from outside the U.S., the International Office will also hold a new employee orientation; for information and dates, visit the International Office website.

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English as a Second Language Classes

Northwestern University's English as a Second Language Program offers courses, individual tutoring sessions, NativeAccent speech training software, and a cultural orientation program. Please visit the NU Linguistics website for more information regarding course offerings. For information regarding enrollment and eligibility, please see the Frequently Asked Questions section of their website.

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Housing and Accommodations

All visitors are responsible for arranging their own housing accommodations. While Northwestern University does not provide an apartment/housing finding service, our Benefits Department website provides resources for housing and relocation information.

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International Office

Northwestern's International Office provides professional support and advising services to the McCormick School of Engineering.

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Visiting Scholar Plan

You must maintain health insurance coverage that meets Northwestern University's requirements for the length of your visit. If you are not eligible for NU benefits, we will arrange Visiting Scholar Plan (VSP) coverage for you and your dependents. For additional information regarding VSP policies, please visit the NU Risk Management website.

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Welcome to Evanston

Please see the City of Evanston website where you will find everything you need to know about residing in Evanston.

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